Photo Credit: Nati Shohat/Flash90
Somewhere past the black hats in the Haredi community of Beitar Illit, there are other Jewish communities

One does not need even to read this story to know about this obsession with Chitzonios. A few years ago, Yeshivas Chaim Berlin Had a photo of its Beis HaMedrash re-touched to remove someone that was wearing from blue to white! God forbid! …someone get the wrong idea about that Yeshiva.

Why should any of this bother me? Because for the umpteenth time, these people are our future. Like it or not they are the ones growing in leaps and bounds. They are the ones with the largest families. They are the ones who are teaching children in the newly formed Orthodox demographic I call the New Centrists – where moderate Charedim and right wing modern Orthodox Jews have combined to form one big community (mostly in large Jewish populations centers like New York).

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The day schools and  Yeshivos that their children attend will almost certainly be staffed by Charedi Mechanchim who have those values and will insist on them for their students. Making matters worse is the fact that these schools are instilling these values in children at younger and younger ages. One school I am familiar with has only this year implemented a rule that their 8th graders must wear black pants and white shirts to school or they will be sent home.

Which brings me back to that 100 year old picture of the Agudah convention. The Gedolei HaDor of that era knew what was important. And it wasn’t the color of your hat!

Today? You’d better dress right or else!

We believe that each generation that is further away from Sinai is a lesser generation. The current emphasis by the right on appearance seems to validate that fact.

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Harry Maryles runs the blog "Emes Ve-Emunah" which focuses on current events and issues that effect the Jewish world in general and Orthodoxy in particular. It discuses Hashkafa and news events of the day - from a Centrist perspctive and a philosphy of Torah U'Mada. He can be reached at hmaryles@yahoo.com.

4 COMMENTS

  1. I'd be very interested to see the old photo you refer to. I have long-believed that this focus on chitzoniut is a recent phenomenon that has asolutely no place in our communities and only serves to cause trouble. Forget the cost of these 'costumes', which is prohibitive for some and frankly a shameful waste (insofar as it serves no halachic purpose whatsoever). To hear that people are judged to the extent of losing a shiduch opportunity and being bullied in yeshiva just confirms how ungodly this approach to frumkeit is. I know of a shul that in recent years began to refuse an aliya to anyone not wearing a black hat and jacket. But if you have dishonest business practices or don't keep shabat, you're ok. What a misguided hierarchy of values! Somewhere along the way, this gashmiut has taken on the status of ruchniut. How do we make it stop?

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